Thakur Ranjit Singh
Ramayan for modern generation is full of teachings very relevant to us. But the lament is that in many cases, people sitting on vyas gaddi, or pracharaks and those delivering lectures do not take this opportunity to make a link between Ramayan’s teachings and it relevance to us today. Many people tell the same old stories of Ramayan we have been hearing for decades. We all know it, BUT HOW IS IT RELEVANT TO US TODAY. Very rarely heard from those sitting with mikes.
I will fill that vacuum over this period of Ram Naumi. The first lesson that I wish to speak on is the “Manthra”, the backbiter, the ‘chugalkhor”, the gossiper, the spoiler – the one very near to the family, but who does great damage to family unity. Yes, something that I have personally been through, being victims of people who belong to Ramayan mandalis, act as devoted Hindus, sing Ramayan, but never learn anything from the real teachings of Ramayan. There are many around us. I wished to warn you of such characters, who would be very near you, part of your family or your group, but doing negative distorted reporting and influencing your mates, friends or family members in a negative ways. This brings discord in the family, between brothers, sons, sisters-in-law and many other relatives. Many of you may have been through this situation.
In Ramayan, Kekei was very loving “mother” to Ram, and Ram mutually loved her very much. So did Ram’s father, Dashrath, for whom this love for Kekei became a “fatal attraction” (as he loses his life in fulfilling the vows he gave her). She was one of the three Queens of King Dashrath. He lost his life for a “vachan”, promise or vow he (Dashrath) had given Kekei in time of vulnerability in a war. Kekei was almost unaware of it, till her servant from her father’s place, Manthra, reminded her of this on the last night before Ram was to be made the King. Manthra” filled the ears” of a hitherto loving mother, Kekei, with false situations that she would be rendered as a slave queen and Kaushalya (Ram’s biological mother) would become the Queen Mother. In the lust to become Queen Mother, at insistence and “filling the ear” by Manthra with evil thoughts in a loving family, Kekei halts Ram’s coronation and had him banished and exiled to forest for 14 years, while announcing coronation for her son Bharat. However Bharat (also called Dharam Raj or the righteous one) rejects this, insisting that the eldest brother, Ram should rightfully be the king. He oversees the kingdom of Ayodhya in trust for Ram, till his return 14 years after the exile. (One of the reason for which we celebrate Diwali)
|Be careful of modern-day Manthra spreading the seeds of disunity in families.|
But the problem we have in Kaliyug, our modern times, is that we stopped producing righteous and selfless brothers like Bharat. We are full of selfish people, brothers, who have been singing Ramayan for decades, but still failing to learn much from the half-brotherly love depicted in Ramayan – the sacrifices that a half-brother Bharat does for his elder brother Ram. Ramayan is full of very noble and good teachings for modern men, but unfortunately, much of these are not imparted by those preaching Ramayan. Most often, they tell the story only, and abstract teachings with little relation to current times.
Hence, the lesson we should learn from Ramayan is to be careful of people like “Manthra” –the modern day Manthra, masquerading as your friend and relative, but in reality, holding much malice against you and your family, and spreading false rumours or feeding others with gossip that causes rift in the family. Some audience may feel bad and assume that such teachings and lessons refer to them. Too bad, if the hat fits you, and you happen to be acting like “Manthra”, the gossiper and backbiter, then put the hat on. Improve yourselves from lessons and morale delivered by Ramayan. No use going to the Katha, eating prashaad and food, (and some consuming grog) and going home. It is waste of time-you have been doing this for many years.
|Manthra feeding the evil thoughts in the mind of Queen Kekei - the type of people we need to be wary of in modern times who feed us with mis- information and divisive information which ultimately result in destroying peace and the family unity.|
And much important lesson is for the victims of such gossip and false-rumours and hearsay things that are intended to spoil the relationship. We have a Fiji-Indian saying that if somebody tells you that a crow has flown away with your ears, DO NOT RUN AFTER THE CROW- FIRST FEEL YOUR EARS AND SEE THAT THEY ARE INTACT. What that means is that do not fall for such rumours and unfounded second-hand gossips. ESTABLISH THE FACTS BEFORE MAKING ANY RASH DECISIONS. Do not fall for the conspiracy.
|The face of Kekei in 'the latest Ramayan serial, "Siya Ke Ram"|
Please I hope you will learn from the teachings of Ramayan to be careful of becoming victims of “Manthra” of modern times. They are lurking around you, both as males and females, as friends-many are your relatives. So, be warned and be blessed by Shri Ram. This has been the first lesson from Rishi Thakur Ranjeet.
[About the Author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is a blogger, a media scholar and a person who has been singing Ramayan since he started reading Hindi over five decades ago. He is former Secretary of Nasinu Branch of Sanatan Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji. He advocates Ramayan pracharaks and those conducting discourse to also preach about the relevance of Ramayan to modern man)